Nooooo! Not a new English Mass translation!

Saw this article in America Magazine via Twitter calling for the American bishops to re-open the latest (2011) English translation of the Mass.

All I could think on seeing the tweet and retweets, is “Thank God, I’m in the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.”

Then, as push back, an article from 1991 on this same individual now a bishop calling for reopening the translation also got posted on Twitter.

How Noah`s Ark Became `Big Boat`

WASHINGTON — There was probably no real threat that children in Christmases yet to come would be trying to sing, “Away in a Feed Box.“

But for America`s Roman Catholic bishops, concluding their 42nd general meeting here Thursday, “feed box“ was one step over the line between making Scripture understandable to children and preserving the integrity of biblical language.

At least, “feed box“ is where the bishops drew the line as they accepted a new book of scriptural readings, a “lectionary for masses with children.“

Auxiliary Bishop Wilton Gregory of the Chicago Archdiocese introduced the lectionary. He is the chairman of the Committee on the Liturgy, which has been working on the project for eight years.


Much earlier, from the Book of Genesis, these changes were made.

Biblical: “the Lord God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being.“ New children`s version: “The Lord God took some earth and used it to make a man. God breathed into the man`s nose, and the man started breathing.`

` And, from the book of Matthew, Chapter 3, in which John the Baptist scolds the Pharisees and Sadducees:

Biblical: “. . . he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?“

New children`s: “. . . he said to them, “You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from the coming judgment?“

I’m afraid I burst out laughing at “You bunch of snakes!”

The biblical translations are bad enough compared with the poetry of the King James Version, but, yes, I know that is my hobby horse I love to ride.

Meanwhile, Author, Professor and translator of Dante’s Divine Comedy Tony Esolen, had some fun on Facebook updating the language of Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

The question is whether we should exist or not.
That is, is it a superior thing in your attitude to hold up under
The variety of blows that a run of very bad luck would rain down on you,
Or would it be better to mount opposition against them and bring them to a conclusion by taking your own life?
Death, maybe, is a form of sleep, a really deep sleep, so that we wouldn’t be feeling
Any negative emotions within us, and we would no longer have to put up with
The multiple things that people have to put up with, just on account of being human.
On the other hand, if we posit that death is a sleep, maybe we’ll be in the state of dreaming in that sleep,
And there’s something there that sort of rubs me the wrong way,
Because it’s not clear what kind of dreams those dreams might be
When we have finally chucked our skin and bones,
And so we had better stop and think about it.


10 thoughts on “Nooooo! Not a new English Mass translation!

  1. God save us!!!! Never content!!!! Do they want to empty the churches completely? Would that St. John Paul II had suppressed the Jesuits we he had them “on notice”


  2. Of course, this does affect the Ordinariates because the Ordinariates were not permitted to have a contemporary language version of their liturgy, as existed in the earlier Book of Divine Worship, on the grounds that a more faithful translation of the Roman rite liturgy had recently been completed in the new translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal. So this will affect Ordinariate communities that celebrate the ordinary Novus Ordo liturgy.


  3. The article from which you quoted was published in 1991, and it was about an edition of the lectionary intended strictly for masses celebrated with young children who would not understand words like “ark” — a context in which it might have made sense. However, I am not a proponent of catering to children in the liturgy. Rather, children need to learn that mass is an adult function in which they also participate — and the best way to instill that is to focus on the adults in the congregation. Children in catechetical formation ought to be coming to mass with their parents rather than to a separate mass for them.

    That said, I recently came upon an article by a Catholic priest on another blog in which he replied to a question from a reader as to whether the pastor of a Roman Catholic parish can forbid children of his parish from receiving their First Communion in another place (in this case, a parish that celebrated mass according to the Tridentine missal). The author of that blog actually got it wrong — Canon 914 of the Codex Juris Canonici is quite explicit (relevant provision in boldface).

    Can. 914 It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible. It is for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach holy communion.

    If the pastor cannot verify that a child is sufficiently prepared to receive communion, it is his duty to refuse the child’s admission to communion.

    But at the end of the post, the author of the blog noted a problem that he uncovered as a parochial vicar and that exists today in the parishes of far too many Roman Catholic dioceses that treat First Communion as a rite of passage. Here’s his description, from the blog article (emphasis in original).

    At a parish where I was assigned many moons ago I was asked to take the First Communion kids through the church and explain all the elements to them. Great! That should be fun.

    It was fun until I saw that not a single one used the Holy Water coming in, made the Sign of the Cross even poorly, or attempted a genuflection anywhere even after I myself did so as we approached the sanctuary and the tabernacle. Any kids who had been to church even minimally with minimally practicing parents would try these things, even ineptly. It’s what they saw adults do, right?

    Seeing this, I started to explain a few things.

    When talking – in the simplest terms – about the tabernacle and Eucharist within, I saw blank faces. I asked some basic questions along the lines of “Who can tell me what Communion is?” Blank. “Who can tell me what the Eucharist is?” Blank. I wasn’t looking for technical or memorized answers. Just some notion of what they were there for. One little boy eventually offered “You mean that piece of bread thing?”

    This was the week before they were to receive, mind you.

    My head did not explode.

    We moved the children along. I then asked the teachers the same questions with hardly better results.

    I told the pastor what I found out. He got mad at ME because I had learned that these kids under HIS charge were in no way shape or form ready for Communion. And that was at a parish considered to be conservative.

    You can see why some families opt for traditional communities, homeschool and the SSPX.

    You can see why some priests, even some thought to be conservative, are nervous about the TLM and all that goes with it, including strong catechesis and personal fulfillment of obligations, duties.

    “Conservative” can be a relative term, as faithful young priests rapidly find out.

    The whole understanding of cura animarum really needs to be revived, my friends, along with remedial… everything.

    Please share!

    On this, his analysis is spot-on. My impression is that this deficiency does NOT afflict the ordinariate communities.



  4. Pingback: MONDAY MORNING EDITION – Big Pulpit

  5. As to adapting the language of the missal to young minds, if the children are young enough, even the word “boat” is a novelty. And why assume that it is difficult for children to learn new words? Their minds are uniquely adapted to the task, it’s what children do all the time. Not to mention that any gentle archaisms, such as “ark,” can easily be explained in the homily.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Two items come to mind: In Today’s English Version of the bible, the Ark of the covenant is the “Covenant Box”, (Ugh) 2) I am Western Rite Orthodox and use (in English) the Gregorian Liturgy.


  7. One thing that is usually ignored when the question of the old translation is discussed is the fact that if you compare the office prayers (old translation) with the Mass prayers (new translation), it is quite clear that it is not a question of translation at all — often you have a paraphrase that omits quite a lot. Take, for example the memoria of St. Gertrude and St. Margaret Mary — it is clear that there is an outrageous betrayal of the original Latin which emerges from the new translation. It is shocking that the old translation was ever approved. Didn’t the authorities even bother to check?


  8. A release of our Daily Office, on the other hand, would be nice. But if I were a betting man, I’d say the Roman Missal would probably be on its tenth translation, and its inculturation for the Exarchate of Mars Colony already approved, by the time that happens.


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